Governors in Alaska, Kansas, and Oklahoma have each signed legislation in recent days establishing programs to permit the cultivation of industrial hemp.
In Alaska, Independent Gov. Bill Walker signed legislation into law establishing a pilot program “to study the growth, cultivation, [and] marketing of industrial hemp.” Senate Bill 6 creates a legal distinction between hemp and marijuana under state law and seeks to develop and promote a hemp industry within the state. The law also excludes oils containing cannabidiol from the legal definition of hashish oil.
In Kansas, Republican Gov. Jeff Colyer signed Senate Bill 263: The Alternative Crop Research Act. It excludes industrial hemp from the definition of marijuana under the state’s criminal codes, and it permits the Department of Agriculture to license farmers to “cultivate industrial hemp and [to] promote the research and development of industrial hemp.”
In Oklahoma, Republican Gov. Mary Fallin signed House Bill 2913, which creates the Oklahoma Industrial Hemp Agricultural Pilot Program. The program permits university-affiliated licensees to cultivate hemp for “plant research” and “marketing development purposes.”
All three new state laws are compliant with Section 7606 of the 2014 federal Farm Bill, which permits states to legally authorize hemp cultivation as part of academic research pilot programs. Over 35 states have established regulations permitting limited hemp cultivation under this provision.